Waikato RC to investigate track watering

The Waikato Racing Club is to conduct an internal review of how an unsatisfactory racing surface was produced for its premier day at Te Rapa last Saturday.

The Club, in a press release today, says it is also to investigate how an incorrect assessment of the track’s condition was declared on race morning.

Waikato Racing Club Chairman Karyn Fenton-Ellis and General Manager Ken Rutherford jointly announced these measures this morning, saying both issues were “highly disappointing” to the Club.

The Club is concerned at the irrigating of the track between 9pm and midnight last Friday when the surface was broken down into six sections and individually watered at 30 minute intervals. This resulted in an inconsistent racing surface.

The press release reads:

”The status of the Te Rapa track on Saturday is highly disappointing to the Board and management of the Waikato Racing Club (WRC).

”There are two significant and quite separate issues surrounding the downgrade of the track on Saturday and these are currently being investigated.  The first is the late Friday night watering by track management.  The Board and management of the WRC believes that this was an error and has instigated a review of procedures to firstly assess how this occurred and secondly to ensure this is not repeated.

”The second factor is the declaration of the track status as a Good 3 on race day morning.  Officials from New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) and the WRC walked and assessed the track at approximately 6.30am and confirmed a Good 3 be declared.  The Board and management of WRC are also seeking further clarification on this decision making process.’’

The Club believes there is a lack of uniformity/protocol around penetrometer readings and feels that is not acceptable for owners, licence holders or those betting into the meeting.

”The race day downgrade was of serious concern to all participants and the WRC acknowledges this.

”Te Rapa has consistently year in year out produced highly respected racing surfaces due to good decisions made by its track management.  This outcome on a fixture of such industry importance is unfortunate and disappointing.

“The Board and management will conduct an investigation, the results of which will be reported and will ensure processes are in place to eliminate a reoccurrence.”